Pro­test­ers give Trump ear­ful on im­mi­gra­tion,

Crit­ics, sup­port­ers line pres­i­dent’s mo­tor­cade route in Austin.

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Taylor Gold­en­stein tgold­en­

Berenice Ramirez, Univer­sity of Texas stu­dent and daugh­ter of un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants, fights back tears when she talks about the pos­si­bil­ity of los­ing the pro­gram that has al­lowed her to go to school and work while pur­su­ing her dream job of nurs­ing.

“I’m in my ju­nior year of col­lege, I’m al­most fin­ished, but what if I can’t fin­ish?” Ramirez said. “I’ve got­ten this far. What if I’m not able to achieve my dream of grad­u­at­ing from col­lege be­cause some­one doesn’t think that I’m wor­thy?”

On Tues­day, as Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s mo­tor­cade passed by on its way to the Texas Depart­ment of Pub­lic Safety op­er­a­tions cen­ter for the pres­i­dent to re­ceive an up­date on Har­vey re­sponse ef­forts, Ramirez was among dozens of pro­test­ers gath­ered to urge him not to re­scind the im­mi­gra­tion pro­gram for peo­ple like her.

The De­ferred Ac­tion for Child- hood Ar­rivals pro­gram, known as DACA, gives pro­tec­tion from de­por­ta­tion to thou­sands of young im­mi­grants brought to the U.S. il­le­gally as chil­dren and al­lows them to work legally.

Protest or­ga­nizer Matt Oliver, of the anti-Trump group In­di­vis­i­ble Austin, es­ti­mated about 150 to 200 peo­ple at­tended, and some brought do­nated items for Har­vey evac­uees. Oliver said he couldn’t re­mem­ber a dis­as­ter in which peo­ple were afraid to seek help for fear of de­por­ta­tion.

“We’re here to point out that we’re not go­ing to al­low Trump to use this thing to hit an imag­i­nary re­set but­ton on his failed pres­i­dency,” Oliver said. “To tease the pos­si­bil­ity of re­scind­ing DACA while he’s got … a hu­man­i­tar­ian tragedy go­ing on is in­hu­mane.”

As Trump’s mo­tor­cade passed by, the crowd screamed, “Hey hey, ho ho, Don­ald Trump has got to go,” and some booed or flashed un­friendly hand sym­bols while a hand­ful of Trump sup­port­ers cheered glee­fully and took pho­tos. Pro­test­ers held signs that said, “Re­build Houston, not a wall” and

“De­fend DACA.”

The protest came as Trump is ex­pected to make a de­ci­sion soon on the future of the pro­gram — while a Sept. 5 dead­line from Repub­li­can state law­mak­ers looms.

In late June, Texas At­tor­ney Gen­eral Ken Pax­ton and GOP of­fi­cials from nine other states is­sued a letter threat­en­ing to sue the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion un­less it did away with DACA by then.

Trump has given mixed sig­nals about his po­si­tion on the pro­gram. Dur­ing the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, he crit­i­cized the pro­gram as un­law­ful and pledged to end it, but in April he seemed to re­cant by telling those in the pro­gram, known as dream­ers, to “rest easy.”

Sprin­kled be­tween pro­test­ers on Guadalupe Street and Koenig Lane were some Trump sup­port­ers there to wel­come the pres­i­dent and catch a glimpse of his mo­tor­cade. Among them was Ron Barkley and his fam­ily, who had just evac­u­ated their Houston home and taken refuge with a son who lives in Austin.

“I’m just here to sup­port the pres­i­dent and what he’s do­ing right now for our state,” Barkley said.

See­ing the pres­i­dent’s mo­tor­cade, he added, “Kind of takes your mind off of the other stuff back home.”


Pro­test­ers from the United We Dream group and oth­ers shout their op­po­si­tion to Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump as he and his wife, Me­la­nia, ar­rived in Austin to re­ceive an up­date on Hur­ri­cane Har­vey dis­as­ter re­lief ef­forts on Tues­day.

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